Do you remember the first time you read a book? The first time you actually held those bound covers between your little hands, and read aloud without your parents sitting beside you to help you sound out the words?
For me it was ‘Mog The Forgetful Cat’.
The story of Mog, the cat who could never remember whether or not she’d already eaten her dinner, or how many times that day she’d gone outside to pee. Although, reflecting upon that story no longer as a five year old, I’m beginning to think that Mog was less of a forgetful cat, and more of just an ordinary cat.
But I digress.
Books. The window to another world. Escapism. Therapy. Relaxation. Whatever the reasons you have for turning the pages of a book, they are entirely your own, but to me the reason to read is a simpler one. Enjoyment.
We all have our favourite books and we all have our favourite chapters and characters. Our favourite heroes, and our favourite villains. Our favourite sidekicks and our favourite idiots. Our favourite character arcs and our favourite character deaths. We all have those characters that feel like real human beings to us. We all have that one character that we have a real connection to and refuse to believe they only exist as printed words on a page. We all have that one character that we wish was real more than anything.
Unless you’re me. Then you’ll have more than one. You’ll have several. This week I’ll be outlining my top three YA male characters of all time, and next week I’ll be detailing my top three YA female characters. But for now, let’s bring in the boys.
These three characters that I have come across in my time, and very quickly developed inappropriate crushes on, are from three separate YA book series, and I have spent a good chunk of my life wishing they were real. These three characters are the type of characters that I want to wrench from the pages of their own books, throw my arms around them, and give them a hug. These characters have been my heroes. These characters have made me forget the real world for a little while and given me something other to focus on than the turmoil of day-to-day life. I never imagined I could ever owe so much to someone who doesn’t exist, but there you go.
So, in classic Olympic Medallist style, here are my top three, starting with third place.
(SPOILER ALERT: This blog post has been rated ‘holy crap!’ for spoilers.)
BRONZE MEDAL: PATCH CIPRIANO – THE “HUSH HUSH” SERIES, WRITTEN BY BECCA FITZPATRICK.
Patch Cipriano, the smouldering hot lead male of the Hush Hush YA book series — or as I like to call him, what Edward Cullen would be like if he wasn’t a big bag of dicks.
First off, Patch is a hot piece of ass, with slightly sun-kissed skin, dark hair, dark eyes, blessed with classically handsome (in that edgy male model kind of way) facial features, who also happens to have a smoking hot body. So, he’s basically Ian Sommerhalder with a tan. What’s not to love?
But that’s not what makes him a good character. I mean, it helps, but that’s not all there is to him. What makes him a good character is just the fact he’s so cool. It sounds lame to say it, but he’s seriously just so cool. He’s a kick-ass hero, who — despite his horrifically tragic backstory — keeps his brooding to a minimum, and has no qualms about destroying his enemies — of which, he has many. He spends his free days at Bo’s Arcade and his free nights at the Devil’s Handbag Nightclub, and he lives alone under the abandoned wreckage of an amusement park. Frickin’ COOL.
But now, for the tragic backstory. Get your tissues out and put on an Adele album, because people are about to start welling up.
Patch is a fallen angel. He fell from heaven after he fell in love with a human girl and tried to be with her. As punishment, his wings were ripped from his body and he’s destined to walk the earth, immortal and alone, for the rest of eternity. But it doesn’t stop there. Part of his punishment included having his sense of touch taken from him. Physically, he feels nothing. Not the wind on his face, nor the cold against his skin. He can still feel his emotions, but his sense of touch is completely gone. He describes it as “experiencing the world through a pane of glass.”
And then, to make it worse, he falls in love. Again. With a human girl. Again. And he can’t touch her. Well, he can but he can’t feel her, and he can’t feel it when she touches him, and the only way to fix this would be for Patch to become an angel of Heaven again, but that would mean losing the girl he loves again. Cue sobs in five… four… three… two…
So, let’s get our checklists out. Is he ridiculously hot? Check. Does he have a heart-wrenching back-story? Check. Is he uber-cool? Check. Does he have incredible, super-human powers? Check. This boy is pretty amazing, and that’s why I gave him the Bronze medal. To be honest, he deserves it.
Moving onto number two!
SILVER MEDAL: HARRY POTTER – THE “HARRY POTTER” SERIES, WRITTEN BY J.K.ROWLING.
Okay, so if you haven’t heard about the Harry Potter series you’re either Tom Hanks in that movie Cast Away, and you’ve been missing for years, or you’re my granddad. So for those of you, who do fit into the categories above, this is the basic gist of things…
Harry James Potter was orphaned as a child when his parents were murdered in front of him by the most dangerous and nefarious dark wizard in the magical world, Lord Voldemort. On his eleventh birthday Harry is sent to Hogwarts School Of Witchcraft And Wizardry to learn about magic and casting spells. As he grows up he discovers that he is the prophesised ‘chosen one’ whose fate is tied with Lord Voldemort’s. He is the only one who can take Voldemort down once and for all and save the world from destruction.
If you don’t think that makes Harry Potter an incredibly cool character, then let me list off for you a few more reasons why he’s awesome…
First off, he’s defeated Voldemort in every book, including the time he overpowered him as a baby, and the time he killed him for good at the end of the final book. Dark Lord or not, Voldemort has had his ass handed to him several times, and by a teenage boy no less. That’s got to sting.
Harry Potter could use the Mirror Of Erised to summon the Philosopher’s Stone when he was eleven. He destroyed his first Horcrux when he was twelve. He could perform the Patronus Charm at age thirteen. At fourteen he was a contender in the Triwizard Tournament. At age fifteen he saved his cousin Dudley from being killed by Dementors. He won the vial of Felix Felicis Elixir off his potions professor at age sixteen, and at age seventeen he killed the evil Dark Lord Voldemort himself.
If you have no idea what I’ve been speaking about in that last paragraph, then do yourself a favour and pop down to Waterstones and pick yourself up a copy of Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone, and treat yourself. YOU deserve it. Probably.
So, let’s get our checklist out again. Is he a relatable, likeable character with a sympathetic backstory? Check. Is he fearless, brave, courageous, and every other awesome trait a good hero should be? Check. Did he make us fall in love with him, and the magical world of Harry Potter? Check. Harry certainly deserves his silver medal, he’s a first class hero, and he’s worked hard to be a character that so many readers hold dear in their hearts.
And now. The moment you’ve all been waiting for. The crowning moment of glory. The top character on my ‘best YA male characters’ list. The gold medal winner. The number one. The BIG one. Probably the greatest moment of your life.
(Have I built this up too much?)
GOLD MEDAL: SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT– THE “SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT” SERIES, WRITTEN BY DEREK LANDY.
Ah, Skulduggery Pleasant. The infamous skeleton detective, over four hundred years old, trained in elemental magic, an ex-war hero, surprisingly sexy for a dead man, and also secretly one of the most evil sorcerers the world has ever known.
Let me give you a rundown of this guy’s backstory, and when I’m done, you’ll understand why I would love to meet this character more than I want to meet up with most of the people I actually know in real life.
Skulduggery Pleasant was not always a skeleton. He was once a human, and I damn good-looking one too, I’m wagering. It was the 1700’s and there was a war. Skulduggery Pleasant was fighting for the good guys, until one day his wife and child were kidnapped. He went after them and fell straight into his enemy’s trap. Skulduggery watched his wife and child be murdered in front of him and then he was murdered himself. His remains were burned and his bones were tied up in a bag and thrown into a river.
But when he died, he took his hatred with him. All that rage and loathing went with him, so that when he was resurrected that was all that was left of him. Skulduggery Pleasant was no more and Lord Vile, the evil necromancer, remained. He switched sides on the battlefield and he fought for the bad guys. He was Lord Vile for five years until it came to the point where he had to kill his best friend, Ghastly Bespoke, and he couldn’t do it. He took off the armour, and Lord Vile became Skulduggery Pleasant again. He’s been him ever since.
The war was over and Skulduggery needed to find a way to cope with the guilt and the regret he had from doing all those horrible things as Lord Vile. He started fighting for the good guys again. He became a detective and started working under the Irish Magical Sanctuary. He took on a new partner, fellow elemental, Valkyrie Cain. Together Skulduggery and Valkyrie have saved the world and each other numerous times. They’ve fought monsters, evil sorcerers, and even a few Gods along the way.
Skulduggery Pleasant is everything the perfect antagonist should be. He’s funny, charming, strong, powerful, brave, courageous, daring, arrogant, suave, kind, likeable, sexy (yes, even for a skeleton) and a hero. He’s a complete hero. He’s got this tragic backstory, and all these demons, and this dark side that he has to constantly fight down, and he can still find the time to save the world on a regular basis. He is a role model for other heroes everywhere. He is intricate, interesting and complex as a character, as well as being fun, lovable and exciting, and I would give my right arm, my bone marrow and my first born child to meet him.
Is he a fun and interesting character? Check. Is he brave, heroic, and epically entertaining to read about? Check. Does he have female readers everywhere wanting to jump his bones? Check. Is he the perfectly, imperfect, twisted, wondrous ultimate hero of the entire series? Check. And those are just some of the reasons why Skulduggery Pleasant wins the Gold Medal for best male character in a YA book series. To put it simply? He’s awesome.
And there you have it! My top three fictional men! If this blog post didn’t fry your brain too much then pop back over to my page next week when I’ll be discussing my top three YA female characters.
Thanks for reading!